I love the campaign period before election time. Political parties go all out with their billboards, hand out T-shirts at every corner, send bulk MMses, and use social media as a tool to mobilise the masses.
Just like political parties at election time, brands need to continually re-evaluate their marketing strategy.
For both brands and electoral candidates, it’s crucially important to be timely, relevant and engaging as it has the capability to promote desirable action. All activities are designed to revolve around the 3Cs: Catch, Connect and Close.
The DA jumped on the loadshedding train with their billboard accusing the ANC of ‘killing the lights’. Julius Malema and his EFF comrades have used social media as a battleground, attacking journalists or anyone who opposes the views of the party. I was also quite surprised when a Vote EFF video appeared on my Twitter timeline. Who needs TV right?
Here are five ways brands can apply election-style marketing to engage and convert their target market, just like a political party.
Newsjacking is a concept coined by marketer David Meerman Scott. In his words, “Newsjacking is the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed.” Aligning yourself with trending topics can be beneficial to your brand in building awareness and driving traffic through SEO. One brand that does this really well is Nando’s. If your brand can seem ‘relevant’ to whatever else is going on in a consumer’s life, people seem to attach more value to it.
Find your influencers
Do you want more exposure for your business on social media? While everyone loves celebrities endorsing their brands, many consumers are wary about the authenticity of their messaging. Brands should look at bloggers and micro-influencers. These smaller influencers are effective because of their close relationships to their loyal, hyper-targeted communities. Utilising micro-influencers enables localised and targeted marketing with higher conversion possibilities.
It is necessary to be present on various social media channels because if you aren’t then your competitor might be. What is important to understand is that you cannot use each channel the same way. Micro-targeting represents a data-driven analysis of customers’ needs, gives you audience insights and is a huge aspect of digital marketing. Advertisers can create a target audience using filters like gender, age, and location. It allows brands to significantly improve how they communicate with customers, build awareness, relationships and deepen engagement.
If you have a database of prospects or clients then implement an email marketing strategy as well as a SMS strategy that develops the relationship, builds trust, and establishes your business as the leader in the market.
Be data driven
Quality content starts with data. Polls and surveys allow people to express their opinions and be part of the conversation. Eliciting and incorporating consumer feedback has always been important to marketers, and surveys, polls, and voting can drive excitement and engagement. In 2008 Barack Obama’s campaign team used blogging to communicate with his website visitors and supporters. They shared articles, commentary, YouTube videos and Twitter updates.
Go big with your designs
There is an element of psychology behind effective design. From colour to font to images, design acts as a powerful tool for communication and persuasion, both of which are hugely important to any brand’s strategy.
A good digital marketing strategy can be the key to creating brand recall: build up a database, grow social media followers, encourage action (be it donations, ticket purchases or event sign-ups), and build credibility and trust through ongoing and sincere communication.
Charis Apelgren-Coleman is the head of digital content at Kagiso Media. She has worked with small and large local organisations as well as large multinational organisations, while managing specialist content teams.